If you own an ATV, UTV, or a lawn tractor of any size, you know that a dump trailer or cart is necessary to get the most utility out of your machine. But how do you go about choosing the right trailer or cart for you?
As product development manager at DR Power Equipment, I’ve torture-tested (and broken) hundreds of ATV utility trailers, so I understand how difficult it can be to find one that works. Here’s my advice on choosing an ATV trailer or yard cart that will perform well and give you years of dependable service.
Start With a Tandem Axle
ATV utility trailers and dump carts with tandem axles are more stable than their single axle relatives. Many trailers are designed to be no wider than the machine pulling them, so tipping can be an issue, especially over tough terrain. Trailers equipped with tandem axles or a pivoting single axle not only better resist tipping but can generally carry heavier loads as well.
Steer Clear of Composites and Wood
Wooden utility trailers offer strength but also require more maintenance. Wooden slat beds are very pleasing to the eye, but as we all know, beauty fades. Even treated wood will break and decay over time. Don’t choose a wooden trailer unless you have the space to store it inside, away from the elements, and the time to maintain it properly. In the end when it comes to selecting trailer construction materials, be wary of promises that sound too good to be true.
Look for Galvanized Steel Construction
Eliminating composite and wood options leaves us with only metal trailers, preferably steel. But do not assume that all steel utility trailers are created equal. Many are made of thin, painted sheet metal, which can easily dent and rust. I would suggest galvanized steel construction since galvanized steel is more damage-resistant and easier to maintain. For example, the DR Versa-Trailer (available in 1/2-ton and 1-ton models) is made of galvanized steel and fully rust-resistant, even if you have to store it outdoors. And galvanized steel looks a lot cooler, too.
The Steeper the Dump Angle, The Better
A dump trailer is no good if it leaves the dumping up to you. The major problem with the majority of trailers I’ve tested is a flat dump angle that leaves most of the load in the trailer. Ideally, you want to spend as little time as possible unloading by hand. I would look for a dump tilt greater than 30 degrees.
Add on a Winch, Lift, or Hydraulics for Big Jobs
For serious work, your ATV or UTV trailer or wagon needs to be equipped with a winch or lift to load and unload. If your utility trailer can haul 2,000 pounds but you have no way to lift such a load into and out of the bed, all that brawn is going to waste. The decision to purchase a trailer with a manual or electric lift/winch or a hydraulic lift system should be based then on expected use. Though they are convenient, hydraulic lift systems are usually more expensive and require more maintenance than the other options.
If you pay attention to these five areas, you will have no problem selecting the right ATV utility trailer for you and your needs. Be sure to check out DR’s array of haulers for any hauling job!
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